These brief messages are available on my YouTube channel, in the Playlist:
BRIEF MESSAGES George E Markakis
Good morning, 11 Feb 2021, this is my 9th morning message and the third of this series on the spiritual principle of the VOW. You may watch the previous two on YouTube:
Yesterday we explained what the VOW is, and why Ap. Paul had his hair cut. We did not explain why he had made the vow, so we shall do it now.
Whatever we say will be speculation since he did not explain it. However, as the vow was completed at the time of his departure for Ephesus, he probably did it so that God would bless his journey.
We also asked another question: What did Ap. Paul know that we don’t?
I think he knew that a simple prayer of a few minutes would not be enough for good and safe journey, with open doors of ministry and spiritual fruit.
He knew that he had to activate greater authority and power, so he applied the spiritual principle that would release greater power than simple prayers, i.e. the Nazarite Vow.
By contrast to today’s superficial Christianity, whereby many think that God is their buddy and servant who is there to fulfill their needs, the early Church and Ap. Paul lived a life of godliness and godly fear, given to prayer, and to periods of devotion.
Here is an example that shows how Paul taught his disciples, and what it meant for them to be given to prayer.
1 Corinthians 7:4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband [does.] And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife [does.] 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Ap. Paul speaks about consent for the couple to abstain from sexual activity for a time, for the purpose of fasting and prayer. Obviously, this is not a prayer of a few minutes or hours. If consent was needed, the period of abstinence had to last several days, for sure over a week otherwise consent was not needed.
This is the same spiritual principle as the Nazarite Vow, whereby the sacrifice offered to God is the devotion over a period of time with discipline and focus, which includes abstinence from usual activities of everyday life, which may cause distraction from prayer.
In the Bible there are many, 70 references to the Vow. They are not all about vows that involve a period of prayer, but they are all offerings of sacrifice of some sort, to God. One such form of sacrifice offering is the prayer and devotion with discipline over a period.
We shall only look at one reference, which shows how God regards the Vow made to Him, in Genesis 31:13: “I [am] the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar [and] where you vowed a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family”.
So, the Bible reveals that the Vow is an important spiritual principle and practice. Even so, it is a practice that for the most part is absent from the Church life of our days. Instead of such solemn practices, many Christians have fallen in the trap of the cheap theology that claims, “I am now saved and blessed, all is well, I do not need to do anything because Jesus did it all for me, so Heaven is now guaranteed for me, and I can now enjoy my life”.
What is missing from this “theology” is the need for man’s cooperation, with works of obedience and faith, and, the wrestling with the spiritual powers in the heavenly places through prayer and devotion, so that we may fulfill our calling here on earth, for which God redeemed us by the Blood of the Lamb.
This “theology” produces sluggish and lukewarm Christians who do not remain alert and active in seeking the Kingdom of God, but live powerless lives without experiencing the promises and the reality of God’s Kingdom.
Ap. Paul on the other hand taught his disciples those things which he practiced; how to remain alert and active, living a disciplined life of faith with occasional periods of prayer and devotion, as is this year’s month of February.